About the African Stock Project
Rock drawing of Basenji like dogs found in the African Sahara Desert - approximately 5000 to 7000 years old.
When Jon Curby, Michael Work, Damara Bolte' and Stan Carter returned from their trips to Africa in 1987 and 1988 there were a total of twenty-one new Africans in the United States. Thirteen of these Basenjis along with Esenjo, who had arrived in 1978, were selected to be registered with the American Kennel Club as a onetime-only opening of the stud book to new native stock. The African Stock Project was begun to track these imports and their progeny. It seemed appropriate to expand the scope of the research to include all the available information on African foundation stock from the earliest successful imports of basenjis in the 1930's. This is the official report of the Project.
The African Imports are listed on two separate pages. One sorts them by year of import and the other by name. The Year of Import page contains three sections, foundation stock which arrived before 1987, foundation stock registered in 1990 after the stud book was reopened, and imports after 1988. Those imports arriving before the 1980's seem so far back that they have nothing to do with our current dogs. However, there really were not many of them and World War II made a further bottleneck on how many and how often those original dogs were used. In looking through this section there are a couple of things that be of interest. First regarding changing names. In England names are given when a litter is registered and that name can be changed at any time until the dog appears in the stud book on its own. The official Kennel Club publication lists the pups by name and sex in every litter so that research on what any dog has produced can be made. Here in the U.S.A., a dog is listed in the American Kennel Club Stud Book only when he or she first produces a litter and the numbers in that litter are not printed. There is no public record of how many times a dog or bitch has been bred or how many pups there were. Therefore numbers and names in the litters born in England are more complete while the numbers in American litters are not accurate unless they have been supplied by the breeder for this publication. The second section on the Year of Import page introduces the dogs registered in 1990. These are the Avongara named imports and Esenjo. By the way, Avongara is a chieftain tribe in Africa. The custom here in the U.S.A. is that only dogs bred strictly from Avongara stock use Avongara in their registered name. A great way to keep things clear and to show our respect for them. The last section is on imports arriving after 1988. A few of these imports came out of the DRC and went to Italy. Eight imports have recently been imported from Benin, two in 1998 and six in 2004.
As you will quickly notice every imports page is not identical but gives you what we have to offer on that particular dog. Sometimes there are actual pictures of the dog in Africa as it was found. Sometimes there are photos of descendants. Some breedings have quite of bit of information and some not much. This is our opportunity to be sure that future generations of basenji fanciers have more information on these imported dogs then we have on the early imports by gathering and correlating in all facts about these dogs that are available. This is your opportunity to send information on your litter of full or half-1990 stock. Your photographs or video, descriptions and breeding records will still be available in forty, fifty or more years.
The pages under Pedigree Strictly 1990 Foundation Stock are about the dogs bred down strictly from the 1990 registered dogs. Expect this section to keep on growing with updates!
Reference materials on the Imports and their impact on the breed is available in the Project Online Library. The material is divided into three sections. The first section contains material about basenjis in Africa, the second section is about the basenjis imported before 1987, the third section contains material on the 1990 Registered Foundation Stock, and the last section is on imports after 1988..
How to send information to the Project
The information needed are full particulars on litters regarding date of whelping, numbers, colors, sexes with attached registered names of all pups. We need a brief description of the litter regarding its important features. Titles won are good to include. We need to know which of the offspring were bred from. We need to know if any health problems developed. Did they all receive OFA and CERF numbers? Had a full or half-African litter, include what you feel is important about the litter and if it is full-1990 stock be sure to send individual photos and descriptions of the conformation, health, color, personality, etc.
Additionally, accuracy is the goal here so send in any corrections for inclusion in the next publication.
Here you see strong start on what can be offered to the future. But, remember it is just a start, more information is needed from all those involved and will be gladly received by the Committee. Each year the Club should be able to offer the fancy more information on these dogs as they mature, pass on and as you find the time to send in your data and photos! Send information
By mail to:
The African Stock Project
c/o Linda Siekert
6800 N Montezuma Dr
Tucson, AZ 85718-2432
Photos came from many sources including many taken by the Jon Curby, Stan Carter, Damara Bolté and Michael Work — who took the wonderful cover photo of the hunting group — on their trips to Africa in 1987 and 1988. Margaret Sommer supplied the photos of Esenjo and her litter. Many of the old obscure photos came from articles and letters which appeared in THE BASENJI magazine over the years. Veronica Tudor-Williams books have always been the standard historic record for our breed and are the source of many photos of early basenjis. The photo of Nyanabiem facing the camera came from Elspet Ford's book, THE COMPLETE BASENJI. Several photos came from Susan Coe's THE BASENJI, OUT OF AFRICA TO YOU. Video of the Parade of Full Africans from the 1999 BCOA National Specialty was provided by Douglas & Jo Ann Cook and from the 2000 and 2001 BCOA National Speciality by James E. Johannes. Video from the 1987-88 African trip provided by Jon Curby. Lastly, for "Cirrus" being so patient while his paw was being scanned